Living Within Your Means

Written by Sarah Provost
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Living within your means is a lot less difficult than many people think. Unless you have expenses such as extraordinary medical bills, or have been unemployed for a long time, you can and should draw up a plan that will allow you to spend less than you bring in. If you've run up a lot of debt, you'll need to make some sacrifices to bring yourself back to the point where you are again living within your means.

The first step you must take in order to bring your finances under control is to pay off credit card debts. Are you aware that if you owe $10,000 to credit card companies and make only the minimum payments each month, it can take you as much as 30 or 40 years to clear your debt? Scrutinize your spending habits carefully, and find the places where you can cut expenses. Then use that extra money to increase your credit card payments.

Living within Your Means Requires Planning

One factor that prevents many people from managing their money wisely is the failure to plan for future expenses. If you breathe a big sigh of relief once you've paid your monthly bills, but have not put aside anything for your quarterly insurance or yearly holiday expenses, you aren't really living within your means. Go back through your check register and credit card statements, and make note of expenditures that occur regularly, but not monthly. Divide them up into monthly allotments, and put that money aside to pay the bills when they come due.

A good attitude is key to managing your finances. If you focus only on what you're giving up, you'll be miserable. Instead, keep reminding yourself of how good it's going to feel when you have your bills under control.

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